My Uncle Max used to tell me to be thankful for everything you have – no matter how little – because there’s always someone out there that wishes they were in your shoes, and because of that, you should always pass it on when you can.
I was very fortunate enough growing up to have easy access to my education. My father put me through private school, from kindergarten all the way through college – master’s degree even. And I never had to travel more than 15 minutes to get to wherever I was studying.
However, not everyone is lucky enough to have it easy. In the Huoi Ha village in Vietnam, parents are going to extreme lengths to try and give their children a fair shot at an education.
According to Vov.vn, villagers are risking their lives to swim across the Nam Chim river in an attempt to shuttle their children to school. Their method? Plastic bags.
Normally during the dry season, these kids can easily rely on makeshift bamboo bridges to help get them across. However, when the rainy season occurs, they often have to use rafts to get over, but if the currents are too strong, they are at risk of getting swept off.
This leaves the kids with only one way of crossing the river: swimming. And swimming across is almost certainly putting their lives at risk. The fathers of the children in the area have come up with a solution of their own in order to help get their kids across – they place them into large plastic bags and then swim them across to the other side.
According to Vov.vn, Vang A Po, the chairman of Na Sang Commune said, “We have warned local residents of latent risks to travel through the stream by plastic bags, but the swift-flowing water can also sweep rafts away, so they have to choose this way. Earlier, a local person was injured in a capsized raft here.”
The Chairman of Muong Cha District, Nguyen Minh Phu, has stated that the plastic bag method is a common trick used in the area. However, he’s also insisted that it’s only used when the water is too high to be safely traversed by a bridge.
Unfortunately, once the families have made it safely across, the long journey to school has just begun. Children are forced to then walk five hours through the slippery terrain. Because it’s so dangerous of a journey, the school kids will usually stay the week before returning home at the weekend.
It’s quite sad to realize that not everyone has the same advantages as you when it comes to education and opportunities. So be thankful for what you have, and when you can, pass it on.
Soon after the release of the original article, Minister of Transport Nguyen Van The stated the following:
“After receiving the press agencies’ feedback on the situation of students still in the village Huoi Ha having to carry plastic bags to cross Nam Chim flood stream to school due to lack of investment in transport infrastructure, the Ministry of Transport has instructed Vietnam Road Administration to coordinate with local authorities at all levels to check and consider this issue.”
Check out more images of these families in this video.
This story originally appeared at Goodfullness.
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